In an unexpected move, Reds' GM Walt Jockety ignored my advice to not take on any new contracts past this year or next. Here's a review of my advice: Keep everyone they have, but don't sign on anyone past 2011. The only commitment the team has past 2012 is Yonder Alonso on his major league deal at $1.4 mil. Cordero and Phillips both have big contracts for 2012, but that's it. That would let the Reds make a run at a week division (my post on the N.L. Central activity (or lack there of) so far this off-season will be up soon) with a pretty solid staff and a decent line-up. And if they aren't in it at the trade deadline, they can trade guys then.
So Jockety signs Ramon Hernandez for two years and re-ups Rolen for three years. But it may not be as bad as it sounds. Rolen just re-upped for $23.625 mil. But he restructured his deal. He's going to make only $6 mil. in 2010, rather than the $11 mil. he was scheduled to make. This frees up $5 mil. for this year's payroll. In exchange, Rolen gets $6.5 mil. in 2011 and 2012, with a $5 mil. signing bonus deferred without interest for three years. (Sounds like a buy-out with out an option to me.)
So what do we make of this decision? One of two things, Rolen has compromising pictures of Walt Jockety, or the Reds do plan to win this year and next. Surely, they would not re-up with Rolen for three years and then do something stupid like trade Harang or Arroyo! If you are going to trade Harang, Arroyo, or Phillips, you don't re-up Rolen for three years. This is exactly the type of inconsistent move that never gets you anywhere. Play to win, by keeping your guys and re-upping Rolen, or play for later by trading the big contracts. But don't trade big contracts and then resign new ones.
If we find out the Reds are in fact in trade talks with L.A. for Harang and the Mets for Arroyo (and maybe Phillips) as has been rumored then the re-up of Rolen makes absolutely no sense and just shows that Jockety either has no idea what he's doing or knows exactly what he's doing, which is not trying to field a winner.
My Christmas wish: don't trade anyone, and use the $5 mil. saved this year on Rolen and sign Coco Crisp to lead-off and play center field.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
2 months ago